EVoting: I didn’t realise it, but the Open Voting Consortium‘s ‘EVM2003’ e-voting system looks excellent. Here’s the key point: it produces printed ballots, unlike the DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) systems. Those are what’s counted, and those are what the voter verifies. And it’s open-source, too, so the source is available.
Although it’s far from a finished product, the system retains what’s good about current electronic voting systems. It’s voter-friendly, easier than older systems to administer, and accessible to blind voters without assistance.
It also addresses the concerns of today’s critics. First, it uses open-source software that’s available for public inspection – eliminating the secrecy that outrages critics of today’s proprietary “black box” systems.
Second, the software is free and can run on a variety of computer platforms, which makes the system cheaper to acquire and maintain. Third, it creates a paper trail of printed ballots that can be counted by hand or machine in case of disputed elections – without compromising privacy for the blind.
Instead of printing a “receipt” that confirms a ballot cast electronically, it’s based on the quaint notion that the best ballot is still a paper ballot. “We didn’t see any reason to reinvent the wheel,” said Fred McLain, the project’s lead software developer.